Knocking on wood may not actually prevent a bad thing from happening, but it does do a good job of lessening our elevated fears, a new study shows.
And interestingly enough, superstitious actions like knocking on wood aren’t all alike at quelling fears, found researchers from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
“Our findings suggest that not all actions to undo a jinx are equally effective. Instead, we find that avoidant actions that exert force away from one’s representation of self are especially effective for reducing the anticipated negative consequences following a jinx,” study researcher Jane Risen, an associate professor of behavioral science at the university, said in a statement.
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